THE BEST JAZZ OF THE 1990s, Part One

WELCOME TO NINETIES WEEK!

‘Il faut etre moderne.’ – Rimbaud

Our main goal and real joy here at D:O is digging through jazz’s past and shining a light on unjustly forgotten recordings. But sometimes the past starts to feel a bit musty. And sometimes the tributes we’ve posted to the late greats have made us feel more like cryptkeepers than champions of a living art form.

We bitch about Wynton Marsalis being a backward-looking docent, but we don’t want to fall into the same trap, cultivating the avant garde version of a romanticized past to the exclusion of significant work being done in the present. Playing changes on those shopworn chords of “those were the days” and “they don’t make them like that anymore.”

After all, jazz is still incredibly vibrant. Last summer, the hive mind showed the depth of great jazz recordings made during the 1970s, supposedly a low point for the genre. Recently we came across the Village Voice‘s Best Albums of the 1980s poll and were amazed again by the variety of wonderful recordings cited by participants. Sadly, the Voice never printed a Best Albums of the 1990s poll. And that got us thinking…

So over the past month, we polled past participants in the Voice ’80s poll, along with other music critics, musicians, and jazz bloggers for their favorite records from the 1990s. We got a terrific response, one that does justice to the remarkably diverse output of the decade. Each day this week, we’ll be sharing a number of these lists, and highlighting tracks from one of the albums chosen. Today, we’re focusing on tunes from Dave Douglas’ Constellations.

These entries are hardly the last word on the decade. We’d love to read your lists and thoughts in the comments. So start combing your collection, put down your thoughts, and don’t be shy!

GARY GIDDINS
garygiddins.com
Natural Selection: Gary Giddins on Comedy, Film, Music, and Books (Oxford).

I narrowed my list to a neat 30, and can’t see the point of winnowing further. This list gives a pretty good idea of the breadth of the period the way I heard it, and while I might cut it to 20 without drawing blood, I am not disposed to cut past that.

This list of recordings made between 1990 and 2000 is alphabetical.

1 Muhal Richard Abrams, Blu Blu Blu (Black Saint, 1997)
2 Lester Bowie, Funky T, Cool T (DIW, 1991)
3 Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, Calling Berlin (Arbors, 1995)
4 Dee Dee Bridgewater, Live at Yoshi’s (Verve, 1999)
5 James Carter, Jurassic Classics (Atlantic, 1994)
6 Dave Douglas’ Tiny Bell Trio, Constellations (hatART, 1995)
7 Tommy Flanagan, Sunset and the Mocking Bird (Blue Note, 1998)
8 Stan Getz and Kenny Barron, People Time (Verve, 1992)
9 Charlie Haden and Hank Jones, Steal Away (Verve, 1995)
10 Roy Haynes, Trio (Verve, 2000)
11 Andrew Hill, Dusk (Palmetto, 2000)
12 Bill Holman, Brilliant Corners: The Music of Thelonious Monk (JVC, 1997)
13 Keith Jarrett, Whisper Not (ECM, 2000)
14 Lee Konitz, Another Side of Blue (Blue Note, 1999)
15 John Lewis, Evolution (Atlantic, 1999)
16 Abbey Lincoln, The World is Falling Down (Verve, 1990)
17 Joe Lovano, Trio Fascination, Edition One (Blue Note, 1998)
18 David Murray, Shakhill’s Warrior (DIW, 1991)
19 David Murray, South of the Border (DIW, 1995)
20 Ted Nash, Sidewalk Meeting (Arabesque, 2001)
21 Hannibal Peterson, African Portraits (Teldec, 1996)
22 Dewey Redman, Cecil Taylor, Elvin Jones, Momentum Space (Verve, 1999)
23 Mark Ribot, Don’t Blame Me (DIW, 1997)
24 Sonny Rollins, This Is What I Do (Milestone, 2000)
25 Matthew Shipp’s New Orbit (Thirsty Ear, 2001)
26 Cecil Taylor, The Willisau Concert (Intakt, 2000)
27 Henry Threadgill, Spirit of Nuff..Nuff (Black Saint, 1990)
28 David S. Ware, Go See the World (Columbia, 1998)
29 Randy Weston, Saga (Verve, 1996)
30 Cassandra Wilson, New Moon Daughter (Blue Note, 1996)

centrifuge
Church Number Nine

1 Simmons/Evans/Norton, Universal Prayer/Survival Skills (Parallactic, 1999)
2 Die Like a Dog, Fragments of the Music, Life, and Death of Albert Ayler (FMP, 1993)
3 Evan Parker, 50th Birthday Concert (Leo, 1994)
4 Anthony Braxton, Willisau (Quartet) 1991 (hatART, 1992)
5 Peter Brotzmann, The Chicago Octet/Tentet (OkkaDisk, 1998)
6 Reggie Workman, Summit Conference (Postcards, 1994)
7 Sonny Sharrock, Ask the Ages (Axiom, 1991)
8 David S. Ware, Flight of I (Sony, 1991)
9 Naked City, Heretic (Jeux des Dames Cruelles) (Avant, 1994)
10 Dave Douglas’ Tiny Bell Trio, Constellations (hatART, 1995)

DJ DURUTTI
los amigos de durutti / additional selections and insight

1 Don Byron, Tuskegee Experiments (Nonesuch, 1991)
2 Don Byron, Music for Six Musicians (Nonesuch, 1995)
3 Ornette Coleman, Tone Dialing (Verve/Harmolodic, 1995)
4 Dave Douglas, Convergence (Soul Note, 1999)
5 Dave Douglas, Sanctuary (Avant, 1997)
6 Dave Douglas’ Tiny Bell Trio, Constellations (hatART, 1995)
7 Kenny Garrett, Black Hope (Warner, 1992)
8 Guy Klucevsek, Flying Vegetables of the Apocalypse (Experimental Intermedia, 1991)
9 DJ Krush & Toshinori Kondo, Ki Oku (Instinct, 1999)
10 DJ Logic, Project Logic (Which, 1999)
11 Liberation Music Orchestra, Dream Keeper (Blue Note, 1991)
12 Masada, Alef (DIW, 1994)
13 David Murray, Shakill’s Warrior (DIW, 1991)
14 Eddie Palmieri, Palmas (Nonesuch, 1994)
15 William Parker, Compassion Seizes Bed-Stuy (Homestead, 1995)
16 Marc Ribot, Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos (Atlantic, 1998)
17 Pharoah Sanders, Message from Home (Verve, 1996)
18 Matthew Shipp, Strata (hatHUT, 1997)
19 David S. Ware, Flight of I (Sony, 1991)
20 John Zorn, Naked City (Nonesuch, 1990)

DARCY JAMES ARGUE
Secret Society / more on 90s, and DDouglas in particular

While I’m not sure these are necessarily the records I’d chose as the “best” or most representative albums of the decade, the following is a pretty accurate reflection of what I was listening to most obsessively during the actual 1990s:

1 Bill Frisell, This Land (Nonesuch, 1994)
2 Maria Schneider, Evanescence (Enja, 1994)
3 Dave Douglas, Stargazer (Arabesque, 1997)
4 Kenny Wheeler, Music For Large and Small Ensembles (ECM, 1990)
5 Bob Brookmeyer, New Works: Celebration (Challenge, 1999)
6 Jim McNeely/WDR Big Band, East Coast Blow Out (Lipstick, 1990)
7 Don Byron, Music For Six Musicians (Nonesuch, 1995)
8 Dave Douglas, Convergence (Soul Note, 1999)
9 Django Bates, Winter Truce (And Homes Blaze) (Winter & Winter, 1995)
10 Steve Coleman and Five Elements, Def Trance Beat (Modalities of Rhythm) (Novus, 1994)

Honorable mentions: Lan Xang (Dave Binney, Donny McCaslin, Scott Colley, Jeff Hirschfield), Lan Xang (Mythology, 1997); Paul Bley, Bebop… (Steeplechase, 1989); Uri Caine, Urlicht/Primal Light (Winter & Winter, 1997).

& & & &

NINETIES PICK HIT

TAKING SIDES
THE GIG
Dave Douglas’ Tiny Bell Trio
Constellations
hatART : 1995

DD, trumpet; Brad Shepik, guitar; Jim Black, drums.

“We’ve developed split-second reaction times and true fluidity between roles of soloist and accompanist. The primary focus is on East European song forms, but I like bringing in all kinds of music — not to smooth over the differences, but to let them sit glaringly side by side and have fun with that.” –DD

Discussion25 Comments Category 1990s, Dave Douglas, lists

25 Responses to THE BEST JAZZ OF THE 1990s, Part One

  1. Certain albums from the period that I’d be hard pressed to live without (for both aesthetic and sentimental reasons):

    1. Sonny Sharrock, Ask the Ages (Axiom, 1991)
    2. Dudu Pukwana & Zila, Cosmics Chapter 90 (Ah-Um/Jika, 1990)
    3. Reggie Workman, Summit Conference (Postcards, 1994)
    4. Charles Gayle, Touchin’ On Trane (FMP, 1991)
    5. Bill Dixon, Vade Mecum II (Soul Note, 1996)
    6. Joe McPhee, Legend Street Two (CIMP, 1996)
    7. Art Ensemble of Chicago & Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Live at the Eighth Tokyo Music Joy 1990 (DIW, 1990)
    8. Jimmy Giuffre, Fly Away Little Bird (Owl, 1992)
    9. AMM, Newfoundland (Matchless, 1992)
    10. Ornette Coleman, Tone Dialing (Verve/Harmolodic, 1995)
    –and, for good measure:
    11. Louis Moholo-Moholo, Bush Fire (Ogun, 1997)
    12. Myra Melford, Alive in the House of Saints
    13. Roscoe Mitchell, Songs In the Wind
    14. Butch Morris, Dust to Dust (New World Records, 1991)

  2. So that took up my whole morning! It seems I’ve got 310 Jazz lps from the 1990s. Here’s a few I still listen to a lot.

    Muhal Richard Abrams Blu, Blu, Blu (Black Saint 1990)
    Bley Koglmann Peacock Annette (ArtHat 1992)
    Don Byron Quintet No Vibes Zone (Knitting Factory 1995)
    Thomas Chapin Night Bird Song (Knitting Factory/Akasha 1992)
    Thomas Chapin Trio Sky Piece (Knitting Factory/Akasha 1996)
    Andrew Cyrille Quintet My Friend Louis (DIW 1991)
    Andrew Cyrille the Navigator (Soul Note 1994)
    Dave Douglas Charms Of The Night Sky 1998)
    Pierre Favre Window Steps (ECM 1996)
    Dave Holland Points of View (ECM 1997)
    Oliver Lake Dedicated To Dolphy (Black Saint 1996)
    Paul Motian Bill Evans (Winter and Winter 1990)
    David Murray Spirituals (DIW 1990)
    David Murray / James Newton Quintet (DIW 1991)
    David Murray Long Goodbye – A Tribute To Don Pullen (DIW 1996)
    Muthspiel Peacock Muthspiel Motian (1993)
    Mario Pavone Dancerâ??s Tales (1997)
    Don Pullen Random Thoughts (Blue Note 1990)
    Kenny Wheeler Angel Song (ECM 1997)
    UMO Electrifying Miles (A 1999)
    World Saxophone Quartet Moving Right Along (Black Saint 1994)

  3. Is it worth noting that you can get copies of this album at jazzloft.com?

    Please understand that I am not associated with the site in any way, except that it’s quickly become a favorite place to get music that nobody else carries.

  4. Lists of this sort are really a funny male thing, I think. And since I am one, too, I try to make it without looking at my record collection, simply by trying to remember what was hot for me during the 90s, and limiting it to a top ten without hierarchy:

    Paul Haines РDarn It! (American Clav̩)
    ICP Orchestra – Bospaadje Konijnehol I+II (ICP)
    Misha Mengelberg – Who’s Bridge (Avant)
    Moore/Bennink/Reijseger – Clusone 3 (Ramboy)
    Le Bûcher des Silences – s/t (Silex)
    Gianluigi Trovesi Octet – From G To G (Black Saint)
    Henry Threadgill – Carry The Day (Columbia)
    Klezmokum – s/t (BVHaast)
    Sainkho Namtchylak – Lost Rivers (FMP)
    John Zorn/Naked City – Grand Guignol (Avant)

    ;)

  5. it’s hard to believe that these records can be spoken of in a retrospective context – it seems like just yesterday they were released!! I’m a youngster I suppose, and the 90′s were my decade of anxiously awaiting every new release, as opposed to systematically exploring the vast archives of decades past (which I also did). So I was quite impressionable, but here are a few off the top of my head that have made the most lasting impression on me, in no particular order:

    Lan Xang, Hidden Gardens
    Dave Douglas, In Our Lifetime
    Material, Hallucination Engine
    Painkiller, Execution Ground
    Kenny Garrett, Black Hope
    Bill Frisell, Go West
    Vijay Iyer, Poisonous Prophets (never released, but one of the best records I’ve ever heard)
    Drew Gress, Heyday
    Steve Coleman, ANY ALBUM but if I had to pick, Black Science
    Joe Henderson, So Near So Far
    Elvin Jones, Youngblood
    Gateway, Homecoming

  6. Here’s a Dave Douglas-less list (no disrespect to DD…)

    Pharoah Sanders & Adam Rudolph: Spirits
    Pharoah Sanders: Welcome To Love
    Marion Brown: Live In Japan
    John Zorn: Naked City
    Uri Caine: Goldberg Variations
    Uri Caine: Primal Light
    Shirley Horn: Here’s To Life
    Keith Jarrett: The Melody At Night With You
    Don Byron: A Fine Line
    Tierney Sutton: Unsung Heroes
    Oscar Peterson Trio: Live at the Blue Note
    Brad Mehldau: Art of the Trio Vol 3: Songs
    Brad Mehldau: Places
    Brad Mehldau: Elegiac Cycle
    Andy Bey: Shades of Bey
    Richie Beirach: The Snow Leopard
    Bebel Gilberto: Tanto Tempo
    Cinematic Orchestra: Motion
    Dave Douglas: Charms of the Night Sky… oops!

  7. Here’s a few (by no means comprehensive):
    Shirley Horn – You Won’t Forget Me (1990)
    Keith Jarrett – The Vienna Concert (1990)
    Steve Coleman – Black Science (1991)
    Sonny Sharrock – Ask the Ages (1991)
    Joe Henderson – Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn (1991)
    Mingus Big Band – Live in Time (1993)
    Hank Jones/Charlie Haden – Steal Away: Spirituals, Hymns and Folk Songs (1994)
    McCoy Tyner/Bobby Hutcherson – Manahattan Moods (1994)
    Michael Brecker – Tales from the Hudson (1995)
    Wayne Shorter/Herbie Hancock – 1 + 1 (1997)
    John Butcher – Fixations (14) (1998)
    Leroy Jenkins – Solo (1998)
    Redman/Taylor/Jones – Momentum Space (1998)
    Ray Brown Trio – Live at Starbucks. (1999 – I think) (a superb straightahead jazz record)
    Dave Brubeck – London Flat, London Sharp (1999)
    Evan Parker/Stan Tracey – Crevulations (1999)

    And from the new millenium:
    Andrew Hill – A Beautiful Day (2002)
    Ornette Coleman – Sound Grammar (2006)
    David S. Ware Quartets – Live in the World (2003)
    Wayne Shorter’s remarkable creative resurgence also seems to have occured after the 1990s mark, which means that Alegria, Footprints Live, Beyond the Sound Barrier have to stay off the list.

  8. … and how could we forget Fred Hersch, especially “Let Yourself Go,” “Passion Flower,” and “Thelonious”…

  9. Here’re my favourites – thanks for the great blog…

    1991-Earthworks-All Heaven Broke Loose
    1991-Chad Wackerman-Forty Reasons
    1992-Allan Holdsworth-Wardenclyffe Tower
    1993-Chad Wackerman-The View
    1993-Allan Holdsworth-Hard Hat Area
    1994-Iain Ballamy-All Men Amen
    1995-Django Bates-Winter Truce
    1995-Terje Rypdal-If Mountains Could Sing
    1995-David Torn-Tripping Over God
    1996-Allan Holdsworth-None Too Soon
    1996-Allan Holdsworth, Anders Johansson, Jens Johansson-Heavy Machinery
    1997-Bill Bruford, Ralph Towner, Eddie Gomez-If Summer Had Its Ghosts
    1998-Ketil Bjornstad, David Darling, Jon Christensen, Terje Rypdal-The Sea
    1998-Ethan Iverson-(de)construction Zone
    1999-John Abercrombie-Open Land
    1999-Arild Andersen-Hyperborean
    1999-Vertu Vertu
    1999-Earthworks-A Part and Yet Apart

    A Decade Bookended

  10. My choices 1990-2000, the “Apathy” decade:

    Fred Anderson / DKV Trio (Okka, 1997)
    Art Ensemble of Chicago Dreaming of Jamaica (Atlantic, 1999)
    Bill Bang A Tribute to Stuff Smith (with Sun Ra) (Soul Note, 1993)
    Arthur Blythe Spirits in the Field (Savant, 2000)
    Roy Campbell New Kingdom (Delmark, 1993)
    Thomas Chapin Alive (Knitting Factory, 1998)
    Marilyn Crispell Nothing Ever Was, Anyway: the Music of Annette Peacock (ECM, 1997)
    Dave Doulgas Tiny Bell Trio: Live in Europe (Arabesque, 1997)
    Ellery Eskelin One Great Dayâ?¦(w/ Andrea Parkins & Jim Black) (HatOLOGY, 1997)
    Satoko Fujii Kitsune-Bi (Tzadik, 1999)
    Charles Gayle Touchin’ on Trane (FMP, 1993)
    Charles Gayle Kingdom Come (Knitting Factory, 1994)
    Charlie Haden / Hank Jones Steal Away (Verve, 1994)
    Susie Ibarra Drum Talk w/ Dennis Charles (Wobbly Rail, 1998)
    Keith Jarret The Complete Live at the Blue Note (ECM, 1995)
    Keith Jarrett La Scala (ECM, 1997)
    Elvin Jones It Don’t Mean A Thingâ?¦ (Enja, 1994)
    Theo Jorgensmann To Ornette–Hybrid Identity (HatOLOGY, 2000)
    Lee Konitz Zounds (Soul Note, 1991)
    Andrew Lamb Portrait in the Mist (Delmark, 1994)
    Jeanne Lee Natural Affinities (Owl, 1992)
    MJQ Dedicated to Connie (Atlantic, 1995)
    Evan Parker Live at “Les Instants Chavires” (Leo, 1998)
    William Parker O’Neal’s Porch (Seltzer, 2000)
    Sonny Sharrock Ask the Ages (Axiom, 1991)
    Henry Threadgill Too Much Sugar for a Dime (Axiom, 1993)
    David S. Ware Godspelized (DIW, 1996)

  11. A few that haven’t been mentioned:

    Charles Lloyd, Canto (he had a bunch of other very good albums on ECM, but this is the best)
    Paul Motian, Trioism & Sound of Love (the best of his JMT/Winter&Winter albums)
    Bill Frisell, Nashville

    And though it’s been mentioned, Thomas Chapin’s Sky Piece is outstanding

  12. I spet a good part of the decade in various Asian armpits, plus I don’t think I even bought a CD player til like 1998, but here’s a few of my biggies:

    Nels Cline, Interstellar Space
    Wynton Marsalis, Blood in the Fields
    James Newton, Suite for Frida Kahlo
    Joe Henderson, So Near, So Far (Musing for Miles)
    Shirley Horn, You Wonâ??t Forget Me

  13. I’m happy to see so much love for Ask the Ages–comes up often when talking about the best avant albums of the past two or so decades, best improv “guitar albums”, etc… few “newer” albums, I’d think, are so rightfully deserving of reissue–especially with the ridiculously, artificially high prices that it goes for after-market.

  14. forgot Jon Jang, Two Flowers on a Stem

  15. I’ll second that! Much, much love to Jon Jang, although my album pick would have to be Tienanmen!

  16. Some records of the nineties I often listen to (to avoid repetitions, I didn’t mention again those that were already listed above) :

    Abash : Jazz (Dragon)
    Bruce Ackley : The Hearing (Avan)
    Gary Bartz : There Goes the Neighborhood (Candid)
    Paul Bley : Homage to Carla (Owl)
    Paul Bley/Evan Parker/Barre Philips : Time Will Tell (ECM)
    Anthony Braxton/Evan Parker : Duos (London) 1993
    Alan Broadbent : Personal Standards (Concord)
    Alan Broadbent/Gary Foster : Concord Duo Series no 4 (Concord)
    Bill Carrothers : After Hours (Go Jazz)
    Clusone 3 : Soft Lights and Sweet Music (Hat Art)
    François Corneloup : Jardins ouvriers (Evidence)
    Paul Dunmall : Ghostly Thoughts (Hatology)
    Mats Gustafsson : Mouth Eating Trees and Related Activities (Okkadisk)
    André Jaume : Peace/Pace/Paix (Celp)
    André Jaume : Giacobazzi (Celp)
    Myra Melford : Even the Sounds Shine (Hat Art)
    Michael Moore : Jewels and Binoculars (Ramboy)
    NRG Ensemble : Bejazzo Gets a Facelift (Atavistic)
    Walter Norris : Hues of Blues (Concord)
    Rova : Bingo (Victo)
    Louis Sclavis : Ceux qui veillent la nuit (Label bleu)
    Martial Solal : Improvise pour France Musique (JMS)
    Martial Solal : Triangle (JMS)
    John Taylor : Insight (Sketch)
    Ken Vandermark : Simpatico (Atavitisc)
    Denny Zeiltin/David Friesen : Concord Duo Series no 8 (Concord)

  17. Since I didn’t get into jazz until the ’00′s, my 90′s jazz CD collection is low in quantity and quality. I’m very comfortable with the top 3, even though it’s very possible Douglas & Vandermark did better things in the 90′s. Here are the best ones I have (in order):

    1) Charms Of The Night Sky – Dave Douglas
    2) Single Piece Flow – Vandermark 5
    3) Toys – Uri Caine
    4) Reincarnation Of A Love Bird – Paul Motian
    5) Conversin’ With The Elders – James Carter
    6) Beyond The Missouri Sky – Charlie Haden
    7) All Kooked Out! – Stanton Moore
    8) Like Minds – Gary Burton
    9) So Near, So Far – Joe Henderson
    10) Have A Little Faith – Bill Frisell

    I’ve ordered a Lovano and Lan Xang CD to help start beefing up the ’90s.

  18. I don’t know if you picked your second Dave Douglas track (excellent performance of Herbie Nichols’ tune The Gig) to jog people’s memories, but it certainly reminded me that the 1990s saw the release of the first two albums by The Herbie Nichols Project — Love is Proximity (1996) and Dr Cyclops’ Dream (1999). Great stuff!

  19. like anthony, i didn’t get into jazz until after the new millennium… and i haven’t heard that many 90s releases really. if i were familiar with a lot of the recordings other people have listed, my own list would doubtless contain some different choices, but i’d expect the “flavour” to be much the same.

    anyway, i gave lists up really, and this one had to be teased out of me in instalments…

    btw, the eponymous naked city album is definitely an 80s recording – same applies to torture garden, though both will show 90s release dates on the labels with which they’re now associated

  20. my (love) list:

    EVERY SINGLE KENNY GARRETT ALBUM EVER RECORDED!!

    love,

    sayydah garrett (yup! the wife.)

    ps: thank you all for supporting jazz!!

  21. Thanks a lot for those fantastic 90s lists. But one thing is bothering me: The overwhelming (imperialistic?) dominance of American jazz. Of course, of course: I too love the Motian Trio & Tim Berne & Brad Mehldau & Keith Jarrett &&& … Following is a list with some european musicians that were not mentioned yet & because I’m Swiss I did throw in a lot of Swiss stuff – not because I’m a chauvinist pig but because I really think that Switzerland has a very diverse, wonderful and unfortunately not very well known jazz scene. The list is in chronological order (the dates indicate the year of the recording).

    kind regards:
    tom gsteiger, zürich
    http://www.zwitschermaschine.li

    Enrico Pieranunzi / Charlie Haden / Billy Higgins: First Song (Soul Note 1990)
    this “dream team” also made a nice recording with Chet Baker, but this trio-session is the real deal; there was much more fantastic music played and recorded by Italian pianist Pieranunzi in the 90s (i.e. Flux and Change, a duo-concert with Paul Motian from 1992, also on Soul Note)

    Barry Guy & London Jazz Composers Orchestra feat. Irène Schweizer (Piano): Theoria (Intakt Records 1991)
    a very special recording feat. the “first lady” of european improvised music (see: http://www.intaktrec.ch/theoria-a.htm)

    Franz Koglmann: L’heure bleue (Hat Hut Records 1991)
    the Austrian “white line” trumpeter with his Monoblue Quartet and in Duo with Dutch pianist Misha Mengelberg

    Edward Vesala Sound & Fury: Nordic Gallery (ECM 1993/94)
    the great late Finnish drummer was an odd ball and his band a strange community; they made some very special recordings for ECM; this one is my favorite one because of the first tune: “Bird In The High Room”

    Misha Mengelberg Trio: Who’s Bridge (Disk Union 1994)
    with Brad Jones on bass and Joey Baron on drums Mr. Mengelberg recorded some his early compositions – very funny and sometimes quite strange – produced by John Zorn

    Koch-Schütz-Studer: Hardcore Chambermusic (Intakt Records 1994)
    the first recording of Switzerland’s most daring electro-acoustic band (Sampling-Extravaganza meets free playing meets weird structures meets freaky sound …); John Zorn freaked out when he heard that one

    Michael Gassmann / Stefano Battaglia / Wolgang Zwiauer / Roberto Gatto: An Italian Affair (Unit Records 1994)
    two Swiss and two Italian musicians in a gorgeous, very lyrical live recording – a lot of Interplay going on; Gassmann plays “more” trumpet on this recording than on Battaglia’s new Pasolini-homage on ECM

    Bobo Stenson / Anders Jormin / Jon Christensen: War Orphans (ECM 1997)
    I was really shocked when I saw that this piano-player from Sweden was not mentioned in “your” lists, he still seems to be a well-kept secret in the States (even after several years in the band of Charles Lloyd); his playing is so deep and so unpretentious and this was one of the great trios of the epoch; Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen shapes the music in some very unusal ways

    Day & Taxi: About (Percaso 1997)
    Sax-player and composer Christoph Gallio (who runs his own label) with his sax-bass-drums-trio; I would say this music is somewhere between Lacy and Ornette; John Corbett wrote great liner notes for this CD

    GAS: Great American Songs (Musikszene Schweiz 1999)
    I wrote the liner notes for this piano-trio-gem so maybe I should better shut up … my favorite Swiss band, no question about it … Piano-player Hans Feigenwinter developed his own, very idiosyncratic vocabulary, in my opinion he is besides Mr. Mehldau the most interesting pianists of this generation (he was born in 1965, so he is actually some years older than “wunderkind” Brad) … and let’s not forget Bänz Oester (bass) and Norbert Pfammatter (drums): one of Switzerland’s really great Groove-teams

    Andy Scherrer Quartet: Second Step (TCB 1999)
    the late debut of tenor-player Scherrer who belongs to the category of “musicians’ musician” – he plays in the tradition of Henderson, Shorter, Coltrane et al., but really strong and in his own way

    & some hip American shit:

    if I remember correctly nobody mentioned those two killer recordings:
    John Scofield Quartet: What We Do (Blue Note 1992)
    John Scofield Quartet: Meant to Be (Blue Note 1990)
    Sco & Lovano: Wow!!! Marc Johnson or Dennis Irwin & Bill Stewart: Wow!!! – this was one of the bands that “defined” 90s jazz …

  22. On the subject of European jazz: I would have put a word in for the Romano/Sclavis/Texier trio if I thought any of their studio albums did full justice to their talents. As it is, the highlight of my 1990s jazz listening was to be in the audience ten years ago when this trio played the closing set of the Bath Festival jazz weekend, so my favourite 90s recording is my tape (now wearing rather thin) of the radio broadcast of this gig. I expect there is an archive tape gathering dust in a BBC vault somewhere.

  23. I am trying to find the name of a band from the 90′s that had a guitarist named Kennedy. (first name) Can you help me?
    Thanks,
    Colette

  24. I am looking for a sensual Saxophone song that was a hit in the 90s. It was played at the end of the risky movie Bikini Bistro. I just don’t remember the title. Something like “Hot City Lights” or “Hot Summer Nights” Anyone have any ideas? Thanks and take care, Tom

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